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Music department presents staged reading about the life of Johannes Brahms Oct. 21-22

BrahmsThe Mary Morgan Moore Department of Music will host a staged reading of “My Music, My Love,” a one-act play written by Ellen Walker Rienstra in collaboration with Eduard Schmieder, Oct. 21-22, 2016. Admission is $10 for adults and $5 for students/faculty/staff (with ID).

The play explores the lives and music of Johannes Brahms and his great love, Clara Schumann, and implicitly, the Romantic Era in which they lived. Alone and ill in the twilight of his life, Brahms must confront his ghosts and the warring fragments of his own personality. He ruminates on his long life and the changes in his world and in music. As he reminisces, a violinist and a pianist play melodies from his works and those of various composers. He is never sure if they are real. As he relives the past, notably his experiences with Schumann, his muse and romantic ideal, he begins to reconcile his fears and to accept the rightful place of profound feeling in himself and his music.

David Hooker will read the part of Brahms. An instructor at Lamar Institute of Technology, Hooker teaches English composition, humanities and literature. He has acted and sung in plays, musicals, and operas for over 50 years, including semiprofessional, college, and community theater, from Shakespeare to Chekov and Gilbert & Sullivan.

Eduard Schmieder will perform violin selections as Brahms’ contemporary and friend, violinist Joseph Joachim. Schmieder is a violinist, teacher and conductor, and currently Distinguished Professor of Violin at Temple University in Philadelphia. He formerly worked Lamar University, Rice University, Southern Methodist University and the University of Southern California. Since 2004, he has been a member of the faculty at the Mozarteum Summer Academie Salzburg. He founded and currently conducts the iPalpiti Orchestral Ensemble of International Laureates.

The performance will be accompanied by Miriam Leskis, a chamber pianist who has performed in festivals in Europe, North America and Israel. She received her master’s degree in piano accompaniment at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama with high distinction and a Concert Recital Diploma. She currently maintains a private studio in New York City and works as a freelance collaborative pianist.

Keith Cockrell, longtime director of theatre at Lamar State College-Port Arthur, directs the staged reading. He has been involved with Golden Triangle theater for almost half a century, with breaks to attend the University of Alabama and Louisiana State University, where he earned his doctorate in theatre. His awards include the Kennedy Center Award for Excellence in Playwriting.

The play's author, Ellen Walker Rienstra, is a musician, writer and historian. She is the author of several books, including "A Pride of Kin," "Giant Under the Hill" and "The Long Shadow."  

Showtimes are 7:30 p.m. Friday, Oct. 21, and 2 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 22, in the Rothwell Recital Hall on the campus of Lamar University.

Tickets will be sold at the door; cash only. Please call the Mary Morgan Moore Department of Music for more information or to reserve tickets at 880-8144.